A Stillness at Appomattox (Army of the Potomac, Vol. 3)
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When first published in 1953, Bruce Catton, our foremost Civil War historian was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for excellence in nonfiction. This final volume of The Army of the Potomac trilogy relates the final year of the Civil War.
Lincoln, protesting that he had done everything for the best and complaining that he was unfairly blamed. Six months later he was still at it, writing to Grant, reciting all of his troubles with the undisciplined troops and unskilled generals he had inherited from the blessed Sigel and complaining that no one ever told him he had anything to do with the defense of Washington. After the war he was obtuse enough to write to Robert E. Lee, asking if Lee did not agree that the retreat into the
divisions of cavalry, totaling perhaps 36,000 men, of whom 30,000 or thereabouts could be classed as combat troops.9 Its different units stood for widely varying traditions, and both time and leadership would be needed to turn them into an army. At the bottom of the heap was the remnant of the army that had been led by Hunter. Now denominated the VIII Army Corps, it was led by George Crook, who was a very good man, and it needed new equipment, a good rest, much drill and discipline, and a
one.”12 So here was Sheridan, and they would see about him. The first things they saw were the little things. When the army marched Sheridan was always up near the front, taking personal charge. If traffic jams or road blocks developed, the officer who galloped up to straighten matters out was Sheridan himself. Sometimes he stormed and swore, and sometimes, when others were excited, he was controlled and soft-spoken; either way, he struck sparks and got action. If infantry was ordered to march
Officers in the V Corps called out to the men: “Your legs must do it, boys!”3 Spring had come, and the world was turning green and white and gold with new leaves and blossoms. The cramping misery of the trenches had been left behind, and men’s spirits were so high that even dogtrotting along in the wake of the cavalry did not seem a bad assignment. The rank and file was not entirely clear about just what had happened, but it was clear that the Johnnies were on the run at last. Grant summed it up
Volunteers, p. 232. 23. Official Records, Vol. XL, Part 1, p. 474. 24. History of the 24th Michigan, p. 275; History of the 12th Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, p. 229; My Life in the Army, p. 95. 25. Service with the 6th Wisconsin Volunteers, pp. 299–300; History of the 150th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, pp. 197–98. 26. Musket and Sword, p. 183; History of the 39th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Veteran Infantry, p. 208. 27. Manuscript letters of Lewis Bissell; Meade’s Headquarters, p.